Burnt newspaper in window
Dinner prep, Sivananda Yoga Ashram
Burnt newspaper in window
Dinner prep, Sivananda Yoga Ashram
I’ve read that some blades actually get better after a few shaves, and this was repeated to me by readers of this blog a couple of days ago…specifically with respect to the Sputnik blade. I had mentioned that the blade was a little “twitchy”, i.e. very aggressive and not as smooth as my benchmark Treet Blue Special. Taking my readers’ advice I used the Sputnik again today, making it three shaves on the same blade. Excellent! It definitely smoothed up quite a bit, but still retained an excellent sharpness that produced a EHM shave with only three passes. Prep was as before, although since the warm weather is back again (man, this global warming is really weird), I used the Trumper’s Coral Skin Food and a splash of Aqua Velva for the finish. An exceptional shave! Hey, since my friend Leisureguy isn’t using that term anymore, maybe I can get some mileage out of it!
A solid 9.5 overall shave…I am amazed that a three-use blade can produce such a result! Thanks to Giovanni and Josh for the advice. Tomorrow, a fourth try with the same blade!
Three days of beard growth…a challenge for any blade…but today is also Day 2 for the same Russian Sputnik blade. I was keen to see if the blade would perform well under these conditions. Everything else remained the same as Day 1. The focus is on using a very slow and mindful technique to try and get a good shave from only three passes. Quite stressful in some ways….which is probably the purpose….getting me to “let go” of the goal.
To repeat the “kit”: Prep. with MR GLO; lather with Palmolive shave stick built up with the Chubby #2 “Super” brush; do first pass with razor; Add Palmolive shave cream to the brush and then lather up again for the next two passes of the razor; finish with alum block.
A three-day beard has some interesting benefits:
The Sputnik performed beautifully…it cut the three-day beard like it was going through butter. A most enjoyable shave and a really EHM result…a solid 9.4 on the scale. Finish with Cliniderm cream and a shot of R&G Extra Vielle.
A note on the Palmolive products. I’ve said it before and will repeat it again: these two are some of the BEST shaving products out there, and despite the fact that they are pretty expensive to buy in North America given importation costs and dealer profit margins – qualifying perhaps as mid-range in price – they are actually among the least expensive to buy in Europe. My daughter bought the shave stick for me for 1 Euro (about $1.40) in Holland and the tube of cream was 2 Euros (about $2.80) in Ireland. Man at those prices, the Palmolive shave stick and shave cream are, in my opinion, the best value-for-money there is. If you haven’t tried these, they are worth every penny.
Three shots on film taken with my Leica MP.
Here’s a yogi doing breathing exercises on the ashram platform in the morning. The colors are real and not Photoshopped in any way. Taken on film with my Leica MP. I rarely do color, but I may post a few of my “experiments” in the next few days.
Of course, observing others’ behavior doesn’t mean much if you don’t have something to compare those behaviors to – a reference standard as it were. The most important thing to compare others’ behavior to is your own system of values. What are values? Values are beliefs that are so deeply entrenched that they consistently drive certain behaviors. Our beliefs actually lie on a continuum that ranges from “opinions” through to “beliefs” and ultimately to “values”. At each stage on this continuum, the beliefs become more solidified; opinions are fairly open to re-evaluation when new information is acquired. Beliefs are more entrenched, but remain malleable although they require a lot of new information to change. But values are very deeply set and are usually interwoven with the personality. That’s why understanding someone else’s value system is so important…it reflects that person’s personality and predicts a set of behaviors that will ultimately be very difficult to change in your relationship with that person. Values tend to relate to things such as honesty, fidelity, generosity, child-rearing, education, spending priorities, etc. As you can see, cluing in to someone’s values can have critical diagnostic value for you.
The third step then, is to understand your own values. What is really important to you? What are your non-negotiables? What kind of person would bring out the best in you…and what kind the worst? Only if you understand your own deepest and most important beliefs, can you relate to what you see or don’t see in someone else.
For the next 5-6 shaves I will be using the “Palmolive kit”, i.e. a superlather made from Palmolive’s (Belgium) shave stick and cream. The blade will be one that I find comes closest to the Treet Blue Special so far, the Russian Sputnik stainless. Since it is a stainless blade, I plan to change it every 2-3 shaves, just to see how it performs – I know that longevity is an issue for many shavers. And just as I was about to select my Simpson #10 vintage brush (which I purchased as New Old Stock a couple of months ago), the doorbell rang , and there was my replacement Simpson #2 Chubby from Lee’s Razor…this time in the “Super” version, i.e. silvertip bristles (my “Best” had started to shed lots of hairs after three months). The Chubby is one brush that I must admit needs to be in silvertip because the “Best” category simply lacks the loft to absorb and create a rich lather (IMHO). It is very scrubby, but getting a great lather requires a more capable hand than mine I suspect.
The Palmolive lather was wonderful…superior in my opinion to the Tabac from the richness and lubrication standpoint. It also smells amazing! I look for all kinds of excuses to keep coming back to it and I know its because of its very unique sweet, grassy smell. The superather was made using my “new” protocol – shaving first with the soap, and then adding the cream for the final two passes. Works great in the shower, where the risk of dilution and thinning is often too much for regular superlathers.
The Sputnik is a terrific blade, just a twitch more aggressive than the Treet, and a notch less smooth. A great blade though, and one that often tempts me away from the benchmark Treet.
Three passes, Verrrry slowly….verrrry mindfully…no thought of the end result, just the process. At the end, a great shave…finished with the alum block, some Cliniderm cream (its getting very dry up here), and a splash of Aqua Velva. Overall a 9.2 on the EHM scale..
My week of Tabac is over, and today I begin a new series – see SOTD later today.
What did I learn this past week?
First and foremost, that a 3-pass routine without a “touch-up” can substantially improve razor technique by emphasizing concentration and the importance of going slowly. This can influence the mind-set from which shaving is approached, bringing a more mindful and relaxed dimension to the experience. Secondly, that Tabac is a wonderful “system” that has a timeless smell – heck, I’ve been using it since I was 18! It is, IMHO, nevertheless a little more drying than other superlathers, and not quite as lubricating – best reserved, I think, for warmer seasons or geographies where the skin is less assaulted in the Fall/Winter months. In summary: An excellent product that makes the grade for inclusion in my permanent rotation.